Dead Island 2: Back From the Dead

In 2011, the video gaming landscape wasn’t as overrun by zombies as it has been in recent years. Outside of Left 4 Dead and its sequel, there weren’t many notable zombie-focused titles shambling on consoles or PC. But, that all changed with the explosive popularity of The Walking Dead TV series.

Season 1 of The Walking Dead was released in 2010, and you would think that the zombie virus somehow escaped the confines of the show to infect the real world. From that point, zombies were everywhere, and the number of zombie-based video games being released increased sharply.

One of the first games in that initial wave was Dead Island. The Techland-developed zombie smasher was originally announced in 2006, but in a twist of fate, it made it to market just in September of 2011, just in time to coincide with the public’s ravenous hunger for zombie entertainment.

The game’s focus on crunchy melee combat made it a hit with fans and the different “types” of zombies kept the gameplay engaging and interesting. The title clearly had franchise potential, even from those early days, and fans were treated to a few more, smaller Dead Island outings.

First up was Dead Island: Riptide, a standalone DLC continuation of the first game’s story released in 2013. This short Dead Island experience followed the original Dead Island protagonists plus a new character on a different island that has suffered a similar zombie outbreak.

After Riptide, Escape Dead Island was released in 2014 to a less than positive reception. This title wasn’t developed by Techland. Instead, Fatshark took on development duties, and in doing so, changed much of what made Dead Island successful. Instead of a first-person survival game with RPG elements, Escape Dead Island was a third-person, stealth-focused action-adventure title.

After the dismal reception of Escape Dead Island, Dead Island 2, a game that was announced in 2014, was delayed multiple times, and has gone through several different development studios. The tumultuous development cycle progressed on and off for 8 years, and now we finally have had our first look at what Dead Island 2 will be.

The game was leaked via an Amazon listing in August of 2022, just a few days before its official announcement at Gamescom. Despite the leak, the game’s announcement trailer surprised many people. Not only because of the fact that the game finally exists but also because of the quality on display.

It’s not like zombie games are in short supply yet. We just got Dying Light 2 earlier this year, but something about Dead Island 2 just looks so impressive. Much of that probably has to do with the custom-designed procedural gore system called FLESH (Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids).

This tech allows flesh, bone, and muscle to be pierced, ripped, and torn away in a flinchingly realistic manner, and it fits fantastically in the context of a zombie game. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait much longer to get our hands on Dead Island 2 and experience the FLESH system for ourselves, because the game is slated to release on February 3rd, 2023.

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